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'Just Cause' opens at Randall Theatre

Love, trauma and organic food come together in local playwright and actor Greg Younger's play, "Just Cause."

The dramatic comedy explores the healing power of emotional connections and pokes a little fun at food co-ops and the military. Performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday, May 18-20, and Thursday through Saturday, May 24-26. Matinees will be at 1 p.m. Saturdays, May 19 and May 26, at Randall Theatre, 10 Third St., Medford.

Paul and Suzy are a military couple who have been separated by different campaigns in the Iraqi conflict. Paul suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has no memory of Suzy. Suzy goes AWOL to search for her husband. When she finds him in an organic food co-op and discovers his illness, she goes to great lengths to reboot his memory and regain his love.

Randall's artistic director, Robin Downward emphasizes that "Just Cause" is not a comedy, but rather a serious work with comedic elements.

"We wanted to talk about the war and what has been going on, but we also wanted to do something funny," Downward says. "It's a difficult subject. Even though the play has funny moments, it also has a deep heart. It's the characters surrounding the main character who are comical."

Younger says the idea to set the play in a food co-op came to him because of warm feelings he associates with them.

"They're great places to see a variety of people."

Randall's production of "Just Cause" is the debut of Younger's script.

"It's difficult to direct something that you've written," Younger says. "I had to distance myself from it."

The play developed when Younger met an Iraqi veteran with attention-deficit disorder. He also became more and more aware of war veterans who are treated discourteously after they return home from duty.

"I'm happy about this play and its message," he says. "So many plays about the war have a tendency to be intellectual. I wanted to write something centered in the heart instead of in the head. I want this play to meld the warmth of family and the disconnect we often have toward veterans. I want to show how powerful love and the human spirit can be."

Admission to the Friday and Saturday, May 18-19, shows is pay-what-you-want. Admission to all other performances is $15, $12 for seniors and students. Reservations can be made at www.randalltheatre.com or by calling 866-967-8167.

Angela Decker is a freelance writer in Ashland and can be reached at decker4@gmail.com.

Nick Walker plays Paul and Danielle Peplinski plays Suzy in Randall Theatre's production of “Just Cause.” - Photo courtesy of Rodney Rampy